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What is Mental Health? Why It Matters

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There is plenty of chatter around taking care of our minds as well as we take care of our bodies. But for those who have yet to dip their big toe into therapy, it can be overwhelming to understand what it entails and why it should be prioritized. You may wonder: ‘What is mental health?’ And that’s a valid question: before you invest in this practice, it’s essential to know what this buzzword means.

At Native, we provide client-centered mental health services within a holistic health-focused model. This means we approach each of our clients as an individual, and we use a 360-degree method to improve their symptoms and enrich their lives. We not only explain what mental health is, but we provide insight into how it impacts every part of your life, from self-esteem and physical health to your relationships.

Consider this our 101 guide to mental health, and more importantly, why it matters:

What is mental health?

While the word ‘mental’ may make you think mental health is all about our minds, that’s far from the truth. Instead, when defining ‘what is mental health’, we focus on these four pillars:

  • Psychological well-being.
  • Emotional well-being.
  • Social well-being.
  • Physical well-being.

In other words, mental health impacts nearly everything we think, feel, and do. When our mental health is positive, we’ll see a more robust balance in life since we will have the energy and motivation to exercise, eat well, interact with friends and family, and take rest time when we need it. Alternatively, when our mental health is less than stellar, we will struggle to effectively manage our stress, get out of bed in the morning, respond to text messages, or really do anything.

Over the course of our lifetime, we will all experience bouts of good and periods of bad. It’s normal, and many factors contribute to our ability to manage our mental health. These include:

  • Spiritual: our values and how we find purpose.
  • Environment: our physical, chemical, and biological considerations.
  • Social: our interpersonal relationships and how we adapt to social situations.
  • Mind: our consciousness, thoughts, and mindsets.
  • Body: our nervous, endocrine, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal systems.

At Native, we invest in each of these to create a strong balance in life, and of course, vital mental health.

Why does mental health matter?

By prioritizing your mental health, you’ll see significant improvements in all areas of your life. From breaking an outdated stigma to enriching your relationship with yourself and others, here’s why it matters:

Raise awareness, reduce the stigma.

Unfortunately, mental illness has carried a scarlet letter for decades. In fact, for many years, struggles with anxiety, depression, and other disorders, weren’t even classified as a healthcare concern. While many minds have been opened in recent years, depending on your location and your immediate group of friends and family members, it could still be a hush-hush, taboo topic. However, when we invest in our mental health, we break the stigma and change the connotation.

As an example, say you’ve recently found it impossible to seek balance in your life with a demanding job, a family and a to-do list that only gets longer. This has caused feelings of anxiousness that you can’t shake and prevent you from doing the things you love.

You confide in your best friend that you recently started working with a therapist who is making a difference. This simple act of bravery has the power to create a ripple effect in your community since your pal will feel empowered to consider what is mental health and why it matters for her, too. The more we talk about our feelings, the more we fight against misconceptions, and we all become healthier.

Mental health impacts physical health

At Native, we adapt a philosophy around integrative care. What does this mean? We believe that talking through symptoms is only one part of the healing process. As we explore what is mental health, we dive into evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies. These include energy work (like Reiki), biofeedback, breath work, mediation, and movement.

We believe a comprehensive and holistic approach is superior because we know the mind and the body are connected. Think about it this way: if your father was diagnosed with cancer, your family would listen intently to all treatment recommendations. And, you wouldn’t blame him for his diagnosis. However, when someone shares they are struggling with mental health and finding balance in life, many are quick to judge them.

However, mental illness is a medical condition, and it should be treated just as seriously as any other ailment. When we discount our feelings, we build up stress in our bodies, leading to increased heart rate, heightened blood sugar levels, hypertension and a slew of other issues. Or, when left untreated, people may turn to alcohol, drugs, and other addictions to cope. Plus, when we have depression, we feel less inclined to make it to the gym or even go for a simple walk outside in the fresh air.

Mental health encourages healthy relationships.

As we explore what is mental health, we can’t forget about our social well-being and our relationships. And we don’t just mean romantic — but our friendships, our coworkers, our family, and most importantly, the relationship we have with ourselves. When we take time to invest in our self, process feelings that are holding us back and make an effort to move our bodies we bring a stronger, healthier self to the table.

It also teaches us communication skills that we can use to talk about our needs, ask for them effectively, and express how others can help us in our road to recovery. It can provide tools to think of how we feel in a new way and through a clearer lens, giving us the resources to identify our triggers and work through them. This makes us a better partner, a more supportive friend, a more engaged employee, and a happier person.

By better understanding our feelings and emotions, we also gain the strength to walk away from negative experiences and people. Perhaps this is walking away from a partner who no longer supports us, leaving a job that we’ve outgrown, or saying goodbye to a friendship that’s grown toxic.

Whatever the case, when we become keenly aware of our mental health requirements, we get to know ourselves in a much healthier way. And we feel better for it. Feeling more content and enjoying our daily lives is one of the most significant benefits of prioritizing mental health.

Looking for therapy in Pennsylvania?

When you become part of Native’s practice, you will receive a hands-on, personalized approach to your needs. We will define what mental health is for you, why it matters, and how to make it part of your routine and your rituals. From cognitive-behavioral therapies and functional medicine to meditation, HeartMath biofeedback, and more, we approach each patient as an individual.

By breaking through the stigma of mental health and allowing yourself to explore different therapies, you will find a brighter path and a better balance in life through Native’s method.

We are here for you starting now. Learn more here.